Masked Scheduler's Ratings Smackdown

A little Masked Mail to end the week. JT asks the following:
"I am constantly reading comments on this and other websites that networks ONLY care about the demo numbers (18-49) and NOT total viewers. However, given the proliferation of ads targeting senior citizens (Alzheimer and ED drugs, Depends and bladder control meds, reverse mortgages, Ensure & Boost supplements, senior life insurance, etc.) this doesn't make sense. Why wouldn't those companies seek programs with high numbers of older viewers to run their ads?"
They do. The currency in the business is 18-49 or 25-54. For sports it's 18+. An advertiser will also break down the age distribution of a show since they are targeting a specific audience segment. If you are looking for older viewers, you will buy shows that service that audience, but you generally pay in the currency. That's why two shows can have the same 18-49 or 25-54 delivery but garner different CPMs.
At FOX, the animated shows on Sunday night delivered significant 18-34 and young men ratings, and that commanded higher CPMs. The cable news channels are heavily 50+, so that is where you see a lot of ads directed at the senior end of the population.
AC has a question regarding something I said in my "Roseanne" piece: "I have a feeling if we could place the 'Roseanne' viewers on a political spectrum, we would find that the distribution is not that different from most successful shows. I think many people who will continue to watch the show will be watching because of their dislike for the actress and the character. They want to see what she will say next."
He replies:
"Two thoughts: Wouldn't that then mean that people are doing the exact opposite that they want to (in essence giving her more money because they hate her)? Additionally, they want to see what the character says next on a scripted TV show to make them hate her more? Isn't that a problem of not being able to separate reality from fiction?"
Regarding "Roseanne's" sizable audience, my point was that no show can be a ratings hit without appealing to a broad audience, and many people watch shows because there are controversial characters whose opinions they may personally disagree with. That’s why I equated Roseanne Barr to Howard Cosell, the controversial sports commentator. Also, after several episodes it's clear that this is more than just a soapbox for the star's personal views.
The issue of not separating reality from fiction is bigger than "Roseanne." Also, good television gets a response from the audience. They must be doing something right.
Question can be sent to or tweet me @maskedscheduler.

Broadcast primetime live + same-day ratings for Thursday, April 19, 2018

Note: The CW’s ratings may be subject to greater adjustments than usual due to a pre-emption for baseball in New York City.

The numbers for Thursday:

Time Show Adults 18-49 rating/share
Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 2.4/11 12.60
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 1.6/7 6.89
Superstore (NBC) 0.8/3 2.85
Gotham (FOX) 0.6/3 2.19
Supernatural (The CW) 0.6/3 1.81
8:30 p.m. Young Sheldon (CBS) 1.9/8 11.40
AP Bio (NBC) 0.6/3 1.94
9 p.m. Mom (CBS) 1.4/5 8.81
Station 19 (ABC) 1.1/4 5.45
Showtime at the Apollo (FOX) 0.6/2 2.48
Will & Grace (NBC) – R 0.4/2 1.80
Arrow (The CW) 0.4/2 1.33
9:30 p.m. Life in Pieces (CBS) 1.0/4 6.30
Champions (NBC) 0.4/2 1.66
10 p.m. Scandal (ABC) – F 1.3/5 5.43
Chicago Fire (NBC) 1.0/4 5.24
SWAT (CBS) 0.9/4 5.35


“Scandal” ended its run on ABC with solid ratings, tying its second-best adults 18-49 mark of the season with its series finale.

The show scored a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, its best showing since Feb. 1 (a span of eight episodes). “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.6) was even with last week’s fast nationals (it adjusted up in the finals), and “Station 19” rose a tenth of a point to 1.1, helping ABC finish within a few hundredths of a point of CBS on the night.

“The Big Bang Theory” (2.4) had the night’s best numbers, as usual, rising a tenth from last week’s early ratings (it adjusted up in the finals). “Life in Pieces” slipped a tenth to 1.0, while the rest of CBS’ lineup held steady week to week.

“Gotham” and “Showtime at the Apollo” each fell a tenth to 0.6 on FOX. NBC’s originals were all even with last week’s fast nationals. At The CW, “Supernatural” is currently at 0.6 and “Arrow” at 0.4, pending updates for a baseball pre-emption in New York.

Network averages:

Adults 18-49 rating/share 1.4/6 1.3/5 0.7/3 0.6/3 0.5/2
Total Viewers (millions) 8.30 5.92 3.12 2.34 1.57


Late-night metered market ratings (adults 18-49, households):

11:35 p.m.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live”: 0.6/4, 2.2/6

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”: 0.5/3, 2.5/7

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”: 0.5/3, 1.7/5

12:35 a.m.

“Nightline”: 0.4/3, 1.4/5

“The Late Late Show with James Corden”: 0.3/2, 1.1/4

“Late Night with Seth Meyers” – R: 0.2/2, 0.9/3


Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings are available at approximately 11 a.m. ET the day after telecast. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. 
Share (of Audience): 
The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. 
Time Shifted Viewing:
 Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live +Same-Day and Live +7 Day. Time-shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+SD includes viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3 a.m. local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live +7 ratings include  viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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